Part II on Grown Folks Abstaining from Sex Before Marriage

Dr. Pamela Everett Thompson Psy.D

Here are a few more pointers on a celibate life for the Christian who desires to honor God with such sacrificial obedience to His word. For starters, I’ve seen so many Christian women throw their brains into the garbage when they met a man who agreed to a celibate courtship as though it was THE only standard to consider before marrying. They seem to forget about other requirements like…uh…employment perhaps. Or how about kindness, common interests, family/intellectual/social compatibility, and shared values on money management. These other components are REALLY important and can be quite the deal-breakers when they’re out of sync. By the way, the number one cause of divorce is disagreement over money, not sex. I’ve also seen women who rush through a courtship in whirlwind fashion in order to avoid the downfall of sexual temptation that becomes an ever-present factor in a long-term courtship (i.e, years in length). You know it’s pretty easy to be “in love” with anybody for six months. Then what? When the newness wears off, the areas of incompatibility rise to the surface—IMMEDIATELY and compromise marital longevity. I also knew of a Christian brother who was abstaining from even dating until he found the ONE that he could have SERIOUS, celibate relationship with and then marriage. He was so overly cautious that he couldn’t live in the moment of just having light-hearted, friendly companionship with women while also practicing his dating skills and increasing his understanding of women so that he could one day make an informed choice of a suitable mate. Would you expect to find a job without going out on job interviews, practicing your interviewing skills and refining the type of job search that fits your skills/interests? You wouldn’t advise a friend to look for a job by sitting at home and waiting on the ONE. So how is it that some Christians expect to find a compatible mate without the experience of male-female interactions?

So am I saying forget about celibacy; it’s way too risky and God didn’t really mean it? Absolutely NOT! Here’s what I am saying to enhance the process and the end result:

1. Be mindful that some who agree to celibacy are using that as a mask for disease, sexual dysfunction (e.g., impotency), homosexuality, unresolved sexual trauma of some kind, relations being enjoyed elsewhere, or lack of desire for YOU. Watch for how sexual discussions or topics are treated as well as questions about a sexual past. Is there ease, openness, comfort, or not?

2. Honor a celibate walk with your heart, that is, for the love of God and a desire to be set apart for Him. Being celibate because you’re following some rule you heard about in church or from some Christian does not honor the spirit of this teaching but reduces you to a mere rule follower. That, I’m afraid, will not empower you to go the distance. Remember, rules without relationship equal rebellion.

3. Take your time and date for companionship so that you’re better informed about what you like and don’t like. Know the word for yourself so that you shall know your man or woman by the fruit he or she bears. For example, that person is not a Christian just because he/she goes to church or says grace before a meal as I’ve heard some people declare as evidence of one’s “Christiandom.” A relationship with God based only on how you FEEL about Him without STUDY and understanding of His teaching will leave you vulnerable to ungodly influence and relationships because feelings change every 5 minutes. That which you Know that you Know that you Know cannot be swept away by fleeting whims. In other words, take on the WHOLE counsel of God (using your brain) and don’t just pay attention to one precept (on fornication) out of 66 holy books.

4. It should be HARD to engage in a celibate relationship. If it’s not, re-read number 1.

Dr. Pamela Thompson is an Atlanta-based clinical psychologist and life coach. Her therapy was instrumental in helping me to overcome a traumatic relationship, and I wholeheartedly endorse her services. Hear more from Dr. Thompson at and

Dionne M. Benjamin, President, Cookies in the Jar, Inc.℠